“Every time you see a government advertisement for WorkChoices, for superannuation, for pretending to have policy on climate change, remember it’s just John Howard using your money to try to keep living in Kirribilli House,” Kevin Rudd could say in his multiple soundbites opportunities.

While WorkChoices has been making the running and Labor is having fun with the looming climate-change deluge, I reckon the superannuation ads remain the real sleeper — the first jab in a one-two combination scare campaign aimed at swinging baby boomers.

There’s been little comment about the superannuation ads, but they’re setting up a picture of rosy retirement nest eggs for all, ripe for knocking down with the threat that Labor will reintroduce taxes on superannuation payouts.

Pete Costello admits to a $69 million superannuation “information” campaign that will deliver a 20-page booklet into every mailbox before the election. That’s just the jab.

Attack dog Tony Abbott has already given the second punch a warmup: “On top of this, union boss and Labor senator-in-waiting Doug Cameron along with a range of other union bosses want to reintroduce the 15% tax on superannuation end benefits,” says Tony.

Yes, there will be more.

What’s also bemusing is the glee with which the Government underlines its reform of allowing punters to take all their super as a tax-free lump sum. At best, it’s dubious policy. Whatever the benefits of simplifying superannuation payouts, it ensures the continuation of a healthy industry in “arranging affairs” to qualify for age pension benefits.

That’s one of the things rational policy should be avoiding, but, hey, there’s an election to win. The splendor of Sydney waterfront real estate is at stake.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey